The Great Recession of the last decade saw a whole generation of young people around the world shut out of many of the same reasonable economic expectations of prosperity that their parents benefited from during their youth. A large number of millennials today don't have job security, and aren't able to save up to buy a house or even a car. On the other hand, perhaps a lot of it has to do with changing attitudes toward careerism and ownership. Whatever it is, a multitude of factors means that many young people aged 18 to 34 are now more likely to live with their parents rather than with a partner.
In Spain, the aftermath of global economic crisis has resulted in 54 percent of Spain's 25-40 year olds going out of work, leading many of them to come back home to live with the parents. Spanish design firm Enorme Studio (formerly PKMN Architectures) explored what kinds of flexible, more grown-up furniture designs would be needed to accommodate this returning cohort of young adults back in the parental nest.
The project, dubbed Home Back Home, inserts adaptable designs into spaces in the parental home that have had to be turned into a new bedroom or workspaces for returning children, now grown. Thanks to a sponsorship from IKEA, Enorme was able to incorporate hacked IKEA furniture pieces in their designs, such as using a series of stools to create a storage platform, as well as a hidden bed and desk in the living room for one PhD graduate who came home after travelling and no longer had a bedroom of her own, and so moved in with a younger brother in a shared apartment.
The idea is to mix and "remaster" old furniture as a way to support independence, the architects say on Dezeen:
Home Back Home is a platform for analysis, monitoring and treatment, through prototyping, of housing situations generated by de-emancipation and the coming back home journey. To de-emancipate doesn't necessarily mean a complete loss of independency, but keeping a certain amount of autonomy may involve an effort in negotiation and the establishment of certain agreements. Home Back Home proposes to design and build physical prototypes that can become a representation of some of those reached agreements, as a result of a dialogue process through operations of furniture remastering.
For a fashion designer, the architects created an easy-to-disassemble, multipurpose sewing workspace out of an old shelf and table. Up above, there are clever, small cabinet boxes that roll along rails, allowing access to materials while keeping visual clutter to a minimum.
In another example, the designers created a customized wall of shelving for a young architect to store her stuff while living and working from her grandmother's house, collected from childhood until the present day.
The project creatively plays into the idea of making do with what's available, despite less-than-ideal circumstances, perhaps hinting at a new zeitgeist where less can be more -- if we know how to make it so. Home Back Home is currently being exhibited at the Oslo Architecture Triennale; you can find out more over at Enorme Studio.